by Paul Lennon •
Bream fishing has come a long way in the past 20 years. We now live in the age of $30 a pop bream lures; $1000 outfits; flashy boats jacked up with expensive sounders, electric motors and power poles; and fishing tournaments dedicated to the humble bream offering tens of thousands of dollars in prize money.
With that said, targeting bream on good old fashion bait has changed bugger all. For some it may not be considered the coolest way to catch bream, but it’s simple, effective and something anyone can do regardless of age or fishing ability.
As someone who makes a living teaching people how to fish with lures I still get a kick out of going back to roots and soaking a bait for a bream.
It’s a very relaxing way to catch a fish, but for all its simplicity it’s only simple when you’re doing it right, so knowing before you start is very important.
The first thing you need to nut out is where are you going to start and that means knowing what typical bream habitat is. The answer to this is structure. Bream love structure with anything from sunken timber to break walls, rocky shorelines oyster racks, rock bars, jetties and wrecks to name a few.
Once you know what you’re looking for it comes down to fishing it with the right methods.
The biggest mistake anglers make is fishing too heavy a weight, as structure and sinkers are a recipe for constant snags and no fish. Bream like the bait to look as natural as possible and will often take the bait as it sinks and that is why an unweighted presentation is best.
When I explain this to people often their first response is that they can’t cast it out far without a sinker. If that is the case, you will probably find your line and rod are too heavy.
With a good 6lb braided line like Black Magic Fibre Glide and a 1-3kg graphite rod you can cast an unweighted bait a long way.
A critical part of success for this type of fishing is your leader size. Bream can be very cautious and shy away from heavier leaders, so the lightest you can get away with the better.
For more forgiving terrain you can drop down to as low as 4lb, but for areas like racks and oyster infested rock bars you may need to go up to 10lb to give you a chance to pull them out. While this will probably mean less bites, at the end of the day you will come out in front as the rate of fish landed compared to fish hooked and busted off will be far higher.
I generally run about 1-2m length of the Black Magic fluorocarbon leader for this kind of work as it’s super tough and can handle being scuffed around poles and being dragged over rocks better then anything else on the market.
While at times bream can be ravenous and eat just about anything you throw at them they can also be extremely picky, so it’s best to make the effort and source the best bait possible.
In my opinion, you can’t beat live nippers on bream and they can be the difference between getting a bucket full and catching nothing. Large peeled prawns, mullet strips, and live worms are also effective baits, but live nippers still reign supreme
For hook choice I use Blackmagic KS series in size 1 for nippers or 1/0-2/0 for large peeled prawns or mullets strips.
Another key component for a successful bait bream fisher is berley. A bucket with a packet of chook pellets, half a loaf of bread and a couple of caps full of tuna oil mixed together will not only attract bream, but also turn shut down fish on the bite. A handful every 5-10 minutes is all that’s required as berleying too much can have a negative effect, as you risk fish becoming full and therefore no longer interested.
Well that about covers bait fishing for bream, hopefully you can get out and get stuck into a few of them this month.